By anyone’s standards, Phi Phi Don, the largest of the six-island Phi Phi group, is one of the world’s most beautiful islands. Its idyllic charm and bucolic atmosphere makes it a global leader when it comes to tropical splendour.
But Phi Phi is not just about well-known Tonsai and Loh Dalum bays. There are at least ten extremely attractive beach and bay locations on Phi Phi Don and one of the most striking is Laemthong Beach – the site of the Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi Island.
The resort boasts 77 bungalows in its well-kept grounds and each bungalow has its own private balcony. The atmosphere at this resort is that of a happy seaside village with neighbours who get along just fine, thank you. Holiday Inn’s grounds are spacious, with a well-balanced variety of tropical flora and the beachside location is a welcome plus point.
The beach-facing lobby follows a traditional Thai theme and the paintwork is light beige with lots of wooden features.
With its high roof and symmetrical columns, potted plants as well as busy overhead fans it is a pleasant place to sit in the wickerwork and wooden seats and take life in.
Two computer terminals offer internet access and around reception there is attractive wooden latticework.
The 37-square metre air-conditioned garden bungalows at the resort are adjacent to a 13sqm balcony. The amply lit room has a king-size bed along with a single bed as well as a wicker sofa and single chair.
The floors are polished wooden parquet and the recently painted walls follow the resort’s egg-yellow theme. Also featured is a waist-high cupboard-desk that contains the minibar and fridge as well as a radio and CD player.
In between the bathroom and front room one finds a space containing coffee and tea-making facilities, a worktop and large mirror with a vanity stool.
A wardrobe with sliding wooden latticed doors features ample hanging space, slippers and bathrobes, an umbrella, as well as a strongbox. The bathroom itself is both neon and bulb-lit and has a step-in shower, a waist-upward mirror and generous complimentary toiletries.
Beach and bathroom towels are abundant as well as hanging facilities. You can also choose an ocean-facing seaview bungalow or a beachfront bungalow, mere metres from the beach – all bungalows at the resort feature the same dimensions, the only difference being location.
Facilities and Activities
Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi Island offers many activities for lively guests and generous relaxation options for the more sedate. There are day trips both to Krabi (42km away) and some 16 options for island and bay visits as well as an incredible 23 dive sites within just 15 minutes from the resort. Fishing trips are also bookable, as are shopping trips to Tonsai Bay.
Within the resort itself there is a well-stocked games room with a full-size snooker table and two table tennis surfaces and just next door is a large leisure room with a mini library and an immense, almost movie-theatre-size TV that shows DVD’s nightly at 20:30 (the movie schedule is posted at various locations around the resort).
There are twice-weekly Thai cooking classes and an Asian Cultural Show in the Tai Rom Prao restaurant. An air-conditioned gym (unmanned – you can collect the key at reception from 07:00 to 22:00) is to the rear of reception and a small spa adjoins the leisure room. There are complimentary canoes and kayaks in which to explore the wonderful surroundings and a dive centre with English-speaking instructors situated next to the resort’s boutique.
Beachside massages are popular, as are beachfront volleyball and football games. All in all, there is a lot to do and take advantage of in this resort but at the same time it is the ultimate definition of a place in which to do absolutely nothing but relax in idyllic surroundings.
Last but certainly not least the freeform swimming pool, in between reception and the Tai Rom Prao restaurant, is palm-lined and wheelchair friendly. Indeed, Holiday Inn Phi Phi Island displays a welcome thoughtfulness throughout when it comes to safety aspects such as the white-trimmed hillside stairways, plenty of fire extinguishers and wheelchair ramps as well as non-slip strips underfoot.
Restaurants and Bars
There are two restaurants and two bars at this resort; the largest being Tai Rom Prao where international dishes are served up with different themes for the nightly buffets. Of course you can also order a la carte here and this is where the breakfast buffet is served, with its clever and wide choice of dishes and juices. Cha Ba is the on-beach restaurant serving mostly grilled seafood.
If you head up the hillside just before sunset and follow the signs for the Hilltop Sunset Satay Bar, passing the (complimentary) tennis and volleyball courts, you’re in for a big surprise as this setting is extremely impressive with views out directly west to the sunset over the Andaman Sea.
Not only that, but the breeze is invigorating and the atmosphere definitely worth the effort of the 10-minute walk up. Mong Talay bar is centrally located and a good place to go in case of inclement weather for happy hour.
The Grounds and the Beach
Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi Island makes the most of its sprawling hillside and beachside grounds. Clever touches are apparent throughout the resort, such as an area exclusively for trees and shrubs planted by newlyweds, well-culled coconut palms, beautiful frangipani trees, bougainvillea, elephant ears and smooth lawns.
Many guests simply opt to spend the day in one of the shady beachside hammocks and cool off in the sea whenever they feel like it. Guests have only a few metres to swim out to snorkel over coral growths and the more adventurous can explore the coastline to the north and south of the resort by kayak.
As far as hotel beaches go, Laemthong (‘golden cape’) is one of the leaders in the south of Thailand with its unforced beauty and charm at any time of day or night as well as its unbeatable views out over nearby islands and the distant mainland.
This hotel certainly excels in the romantic stakes, what with private beach dinners and many romantic places for couples to spend time together such as in the love tree garden. Holiday Inn will also arrange a Thai wedding ceremony for you and your loved one with a specially appointed Master of Ceremonies.
Prior to arrival the resort requires documents from your embassy (or embassies, as the case may be) translated in Thai indicating the following:
Affirmation of freedom to marry, your wish to get married in Thailand with personal details such as your name, address, nationality, place and date of birth, parent's names and nationality. Proof of annulment or divorce document if previously married. Krabi Province authorities will register the wedding on the island, and require your passports during this time.
The spectacular setting makes this resort a special place from the word go. It has beautiful grounds and good outdoor facilities and of course that extra-special Thai touch when it comes to hospitality.
Staff at this resort was always extremely courteous and more than willing to meet guests’ needs. Staff members seem genuine friends between themselves and this can only be a good point. There is a tangible ‘local’ feel to service at Holiday Inn resort Phi Phi Island, with many members coming from nearby Krabi.
By Sam Wilkinson - Photos by Stephan Audiger
Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi Island Location Map
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